Objective To describe the prevalence and determinants of vitamin D deficiency (VDD) among healthy children aged between 0 and 18 years living in South-East Asia (SEA).
Design We systematically searched Ovid MEDLINE and Ovid EMBASE for observational studies assessing VDD among healthy children in the SEA region as the primary or secondary outcome from database inception to 6 April 2021. PubMed was used for e-pubs and publications not indexed in Medline. Publications that included abstracts in English were included. We performed a systematic review to describe the prevalence of VDD in SEA children.
Results Our initial search identified 550 publications with an additional 2 publications from manual screening. Of those, 21 studies from 5 different countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia) were summarised and included in forest plots. The prevalence of VDD (<50 nmol/L) ranged from 0.9% to 96.4%, with >50% of newborns having VDD, and severe VDD (<30 nmol/L) ranged from 0% to 55.8%. Female sex and urban living were the most common determinants of VDD.
Conclusions VDD among healthy children living in the SEA region is common. Efforts to detect VDD and the implementation of preventive measures, including education on safe sun exposure and oral vitamin D supplementation or food fortification, should be considered for key target groups, including adolescent females and pregnant and lactating women to improve the vitamin D status of newborns.
Protocol registration number This study is registered with PROSPERO (CRD42020181600).
- child Health
Data availability statement
Data are available on reasonable request.
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Contributors Conceptualisation: VO, MJ, DCS, MHD, IM. Data curation: VO, DADDP, ZI. Formal analysis: VO, DADDP, ZI. Supervision: IM, MJ, MHD. Writing—original draft: VO. Writing—review and editing: VO, MD, IM, MJ, DCS, DADDP, ZI, BKP. Guarantor: VO.
Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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